May 9, 2014

A call to die

‘When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.’ – Deitrich Bonhoeffer
I’ve had some interesting conversations with people I love this week. Conversations about trusting God when He is pulling us far from what is comfortable, far from what is safe.
Following Jesus isn’t safe. It’s worth it, it’s the only way we find real life, but He calls us to die along the way. Following Jesus is a call to individuals who were dead in their sins to come, die with Christ and live through Him, and continue to put to death the remnants of the old self. We were created by Him and purchased by Him – this life isn’t ours to live.
Last week we received our foster care license in the mail. A piece of paper that says we are approved by the county to have our hearts broken.
We are hoping to foster to adopt, and the idea of adding another child to our family is exciting (albeit overwhelming). I’m looking forward to pulling our baby carrier out of storage, getting out all of those chunky plastic non-chokable toys. There are locks on the cabinet doors and baby gates at the ready.
When each of our children were born I had talks with the Lord about how these babies were not my own. They were His. They were entrusted to me for a time to love and raise and teach and disciple. If I made motherhood about me – about my control, my image, my comfort, my ability to manage – ugly things happened.
Fostercare is a whole new level of knowing that this child will not be mine, and it can’t be about me.
If I make it about me, I will root against the biological family, hoping they fail to work their case plan, praying they fully abandon their child. I would be praying for permanent, legal brokenness in an entire family. Ugly things will happen if I make it about me.
As a follower of Jesus entering this world of fostering, I’m wrestling with knowing that ultimately it’s His kingdom, not mine. He is the only one in control – I am not, and don’t need to be. All I need to know at this moment is that He has called us to this path and I need to obey. Perhaps we will adopt the first little one placed in our care, or perhaps He will ask us to be agents of reconciliation in a broken, hurting family who has never had people faithfully pray for them, model love for them, ask God for both justice AND mercy on their behalf. Perhaps He will ask me to love and care and pray for their little one for a time while they become better prepared to parent their own child, and then kiss that little chubby cheek goodbye and entrust her fully to her Father’s care.
Either way, these kids aren’t really mine, are they?
This morning Romans 12 rings in my heart.
…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (12:1)
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (12:9)
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (12:12)
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. (12:14)
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (12:21)
This life is not mine. These children are not mine. It’s not about me.
And so, I put that paper license in the file, not knowing what lies ahead but knowing that God will be with us through all of the joy and pain of it. He called me to die to myself years ago, and this is yet another step on the journey.
Following Jesus isn’t safe. It’s a call to come, die, live through Him alone, and continue to put my old self to death. But walking with Him is worth it. Not a single sparrow will fall to the ground without His knowledge, and even the hairs of my head are all numbered. I do not need to fear, even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
After all, we are not walking alone.